Social Cycling Austin sponsors more than a half dozen weekly rides. Several of their rides could be suitable for taking an unpredictable bike tour. The Thursday Night Social Ride (TNSR) is the granddaddy of the social rides, sometimes attracting as many as 300 riders. The rides start at Festival Beach, just under the I-35 bridge over
Town Lake Lady Bird Lake near the heart of downtown Austin.
The ride departs around 8pm and lasts about three hours, covering 10 to 12 miles, typically. Sometimes the route is publicized in advance and sometimes not, but always stays within the general confines of central Austin. The group typically stops for a mid-ride break at a local park. And the ride generally ends at a bar or bike shop for, often discounted or free, adult refreshments. Expect to see a tall bike or two, crazy curb-hopping BMXers, fixie bikes, tandems, bike stereos, and plenty of colorfully lit bikes. The TNSR generally attracts a younger adult crowd, but some of us not-so-younger types ride it too. TNSR is probably not appropriate for under 21, due to the latish hours/adult beverages.
Here’s a short video of riders departing Festival Beach. Several ride leaders from Social Cycling Austin help keep riders on track with turns and ensure the group is remassed after being split at traffic lights.
For visitors to Austin, you’ll need to borrow or rent a bike (and be sure to borrow some lights!). Check out Streamline Cycles and Eastside Pedal Pushers, the two closest rental bike shops. Austin B-Cycle is a possibility, but the bikes are on the heavy side and it would get a bit expensive for the evening.